Local Good Eats

The Absolute Best Places To Grab A Mouth-Watering Meal Near Cleveland, Ohio

Using my Instagram photos to show off the best food in Cleveland.

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I'm one of those people that you see taking pictures of their food. Restaurant food, takeout, food I attempt to cook. What do I do with all these random pictures of food? I upload them to my Instagram page.

Below you'll find my list and examples of the places with the best meal deals here in Cleveland.

1. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse’s Thursday Night Special — North Olmstead, OH

Personal Photo

In North Olmstead there sits a place called BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse. Before I found out about this restaurant, the only BJ's I knew was the Wholesale Club. My ex girlfriend found out about this place and grabbed me after work one Thursday night to partake in the Thursday Night Special they have.

Half a rack of pork ribs, two sides (I always pick fries for my two sides!), caesar salad, dessert, and unlimited fountain drinks — all for only $18.99 instead of the usual $25.99.

This restaurant is als unique in that it they make their own beer and pizzas. Service is always excellent, and they’re so upscale that they don't use napkins — they use tablecloths!

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse is located at 25779 Brookpark Road, North Olmsted 44070.

2. Steak N Shake’s Weekend Brunch — Cleveland, OH

Personal Photo

Whenever a shopping trip to Walmart in Steelyard is planned, my best friend and I always stop at Steak N Shake to have a bite to eat first.

The service is pretty good, and depending on our server, we can get an extra buddy popping in at the table sporadically instead of our waiter/tress popping in.

Here you see my favorite meal, Frisco Melt, and fries, with bottomless fountain drinks for about less than $10. Depending on how hungry I am, sometimes I add chicken fingers and fries to that meal or a hot dog and fries to it and all together it will still come to less than $15.

Besides their REALLY good fries, Steak N Shake also mails out coupons that are good for two to three months to all households in the area. It's not unusual to see a lot of people clipping coupons at one time in the restaurant. Children eat free on weekends, so there's also always lots of families eating there all hours of the day.

The Steak N Shake I frequent is at 3294 Steelyard Drive, Cleveland, Ohio 44109.

3. Red Robin’s Unique Burgers — North Olmstead, OH

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I first found out about Red Robin quite a few years ago through friends of acquaintances I have. Red Robin is famous for their freckled lemonades and their humongously stuffed burgers.

The Royal Red Robin Burger is good, but their Mac N Cheese Burger is the one I always go to. It comes with bottomless fries, and bottomless freckled lemonades. This place is a bit pricey though; burger and fry meals here start at $9. Sometimes you can luck out and get a burger and fry combo for $6.99.

The Red Robin I go to is at 4949 Great Northern Blvd, North Olmstead 44070.

4. Denny’s Homestyle Awesomeness — formerly in Lakewood, OH

Personal Photo

There are Denny's all around, but the one on W. 150th is not good at all. The service is severly lacking, flies are always in there, and they frequently messed up orders. A few years ago, that particular Denny's was a great spot to go to, and the food and service was excellent. Now that its not that way anymore, it was time to find a new Denny's to go to.

A Denny's opened right on W. 140th and Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. It seemed a strange spot to put a Denny's, but it thrived there. It was quaint and secluded which made it more of a diamond in the rough. Ugh — I'm REALLY sad its not there anymore!

Featured here is a picture of a particular feast I enjoyed there one morning: blueberry pancakes with strawberry, banana, and whipped cream toppings, a fruit bowl, scambled eggs, sausage, and some milk.

Its closed now but the Denny's I frequented was next door to the GetGo gas station on W.140th and Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, Ohio 44107.

5. Red Lobster’s Continuous Seafood — North Olmstead, OH

Personal Photo

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the endless shrimp promotion that Red Lobster runs every fall. Endless shrimp meals, endless biscuits, a side, a salad, and bottomless soft drinks for $15.99.

I'm not a big seafood fan in general, but Red Lobster does make great popcorn shrimp and fried shrimp. I first tried shrimp alfredo at a Red Lobster some years ago and haven't stopped eating it since. Above you see my favorite combo to get during the endless shrimp promotion: shrimp alfredo, popcorn shrimp, fries, caesar salad, biscuits, and lemonade.

The Red Lobster I don't have a problem with is at 25615 Brookpark Road, North Olmsted, 44070.

6. Liquid Fresh Planet’s Uniquely Healthy Combos — Cleveland, OH 

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I don't go to Liquid Planet often because its a bit pricey, but the unique combinations of foods they make there is worth it.

The last time I was there I got grilled cheese on pita bread, celery sticks with peanut butter dip, and an oatmeal apple cinnamon smoothie. Yeah — their smoothies are a HUGE crowd pleaser.

Liquid Fresh Planet is located at 11002 Clifton Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44102.

7. Applebee’s Friendly Neighborhood Grill — Cleveland, OH

Personal Photo

A Saturday night isn't complete for me unless a trip to Applebee's is involved. The staff are always nice, there's hardly ever a wait, and the food is always excellent.

Pictured above is spinach artichoke dip, mozarella sticks, honey barbeque boneless wings, fries, and lemonade.

Applebee's is located at 3401 Steelyard Drive, Cleveland, Ohio 44109.

8. T.G.I. Fridays Ends The Week Right — Brooklyn, OH

Personal Photo

I don't get why the food seems to taste better at T.G.I. Fridays on Friday nights but it just does! As the commercial says though, everyday feels like a Friday at T.G.I. Fridays.

I first started going to T.G.I. Fridays in high school because one of our friends and her brother worked there on the weekends.

I get the same meal at T.G.I. Fridays that I get at Applebee's, but T.G.I. Fridays makes these really good cheesy potato skins with bacon on top. The mozarella sticks they make are bigger and shaped like rectangles which makes them uniquely good to me.

T.G.I. Fridays is located at 10320 Cascade Crossing, Brooklyn, Ohio 44114.

So there's my list of the yummiest local foods on my Instagram account. If these places aren't on your list, maybe you should consider adding them. Local places offering good food at affordable prices are treasures everyone should look for.

Now rarely will I frequent establishments that are not chain restaurants, so that's why the majority of this list are places the masses are familiar with hearing about. I don't think negatively of popular restaurants the way a lot of other people tend to do. I find tasty affordable foods on the menu and roll with it!

In addition to other random or chain restaurants I go to, I travel to Columbus fairly often, so there's also food pictures from different spots there. To see all these pictures and more on my Instagram, follow me @Kimberly_Latrice.

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12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life This Summer

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.
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Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of cold beverages that really hit the spot during the summer months, from espresso drinks to fraps, smoothies, teas and refreshers. As a Starbucks barista, I've had the opportunity to taste most drinks on the menu and receive feedback from customers on the do's and don'ts of cold beverages.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I pulled together some of my favorites to give you, the "Ultimate Starbucks Iced Beverage Bucket List for 2017" that you MUST try this season:

1. Pink Drink

Three words: Basic white girl. If you want a photogenic drink that tastes like a Starburst and makes baristas happy, the Pink Drink is for you. It's a pretty simple beverage... this Strawberry Acai Refresher combined with Coconutmilk is sure to satisfy your hipster needs.

2. Iced White Mocha

This sinfully sweet iced espresso drink is not only one of the most popular beverages on the menu, but sure to wake you up at any time of day. Jazz it up by asking for half white chocolate, half mocha sauce, topped with a mocha drizzle, and you've got yourself an Iced Tuxedo Mocha!

3. Doubleshot on Ice

If nothing else, this quick pick-me-up looks classy while giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. With two shots of espresso, a bit of milk and classic syrup, this drink is easy to enjoy in little time... it's like a caffeine I.V.!

4. Iced Caramel Machiatto

Surprise, surprise... Caramel Machiattos are actually made with vanilla syrup. Nonetheless, these espresso-topped beverages are absolutely delicious at any time of year, but summer calls for ice! Want to change things up? Ask your barista to make it with half vanilla syrup, half toffee nut syrup to make an Iced Salted Caramel Machiatto!

5. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

A sister to the Pink Drink, the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is a fruit juice-blackberry combo that makes for a pretty chilled beverage to enjoy on the go. The caffeine content is minimal, making it a great option for any time of day.


6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Cold Brew is basically Starbucks' version of a smoother-tasting iced coffee with more caffeine. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard drink topped with vanilla-flavored heavy cream to create a sweet taste and a marbled appearance in the beverage. Want something with flavor, but not in the mood for vanilla? Try the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew!


7. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

The Mango Black Tea Lemonade is one of the most popular drinks on the menu. Iced Teavana tea mixed with mango syrup and lemonade makes for the perfect combination

8. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chais - sound so sophisticated, yet so simple to make. If you order this drink, there is a 10/10 chance that your barista will love you for it. Milk mixed with a sweet and spicy chai syrup makes for a classy drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.


9. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto

The identifying characteristic that makes a macchiato, well, a macchiato is that the espresso shots are poured on top of the milk and flavoring. Starbucks' Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto is a combination of cinnamon dolce syrup and almondmilk topped with espresso shots, a caramel drizzle and a cinnamon dolce topping to create a delicious dairy-free option in the macchiato family.

10. Sunset Refresher

This secret menu drink is fairly simple to make with a cool lime base, lemonade, lime slices, and ice topped with black tea. When finished, the drink will have an ombré appearance that makes it totally picture-worthy!

11. Iced Caffè Americano

Calling all espresso lovers: Americanos are a Starbucks signature. The drink itself is pretty simple - espresso and water topped with ice, but if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can mix things up with a flavored syrup. This drink is sure to wake you right up, no matter the time of day.

12. Strawberry Lemonade

Want something cold but not feeling coffee or a frap? Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is definitely worth a try! While this drink is not on the menu, most baristas are happy to make it upon request. Just ask for a combination of strawberry flavoring, lemonade, and ice blended together for a slushie-like beverage!

Cover Image Credit: FoodBeast

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A Love Letter To My Air Fryer

And why you would love an fryer too...

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In a previous article, I wrote about how love to use Trello.com for organizing things. I'm still loving Trello. I've haven't grown bored of it and stopped using it (like I have with some other organizational systems). This time, I'm going to share another item that I love, and it's for one of my favorite things, food! I finally gave in and bought an air fryer, and after my first use, I literally said that it's wonderful! I bought a small air fryer. It only holds about two quarts, but it's perfect for quick lunches.

I thought I'd love the air fryer if it could dry fry food with little to no oil, and it does just that. I'm also in love with the air fryer, because I could simply put the food in it, set the timer and live my life for a few minutes until the food is done. I don't have to stand over it and watch the food cook. That makes the air fryer a winner! Did I mention that it really does work?! Yes, it does work. Now, you could buy foods that are already breaded and throw them in the air fryer, but if you want to go the healthier route, you can use bread crumbs, flour, and eggs to make your own crispy coatings for your foods. Dipping your food in your own homemade batter cuts out some of the salt and added chemicals in the frozen pre-fried foods.

You can also fry foods that do not even need a homemade batter. Without using the batter, I've made sweet potato French fries and burritos in it. The tortilla for the burrito turned out nicely crispy, but I didn't leave it in the air fryer long enough for it to be crunchy. The sweet potato fries came out nice. I've tried making crispy chickpeas with Italian seasoning, but they weren't to my liking. However, I have loved everything else that I've made in the air fryer. Sometimes I just put a quick meal in it, just to re-heat it, since I don't use a microwave. I just think that using the air fryer is healthier than using microwaves, and I love that I don't need to put my food in a special box or anything for it to be really crispy. If you love fried chicken or fried fish, you'd love this little machine as much as I do!

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